By: Richard Kunst
WITHOUT PREJUDICE!!! First let me state that I love technology, gadgets and all forms of technology …But implore you to resist their use (initially) on your shop floor or in your department.
During the early stages of my Lean Training, I was constantly reminded to resist the use of computers to track data and provide updates since it did not create the emotional attachment desired through the use of certain tools.
As we work with organizations, we are challenged about using manual updating and tracking methodologies (pencil & paper), when folks have ready access to computers and the power of Excel Spreadsheets.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, however, speaks loudly about the power of writing and the link to advanced learning. As a devoted fan of daily Report-Out methodology within organizations as our vehicle to distribute accountability to the lowest level of the organization while concurrently enhancing engagement, we’ve realized that part of the learning is having folks track and manually update KPI’s to measure individual and team success.
Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.
It’s not just children who benefit. Adults studying new symbols, such as Chinese characters, might enhance recognition by writing the characters by hand, researchers say. Some physicians say handwriting could be a good cognitive exercise for baby boomers working to keep their minds sharp as they age. There it is in a nutshell, but I’m a bit too passionate about this subject to simply stop.
“It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two- dimensional things we see all the time,” says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University, who led the study.
Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, further explains that pictures of the brain have illustrated that sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.
And one recent study of Professor Berninger’s demonstrated that in grades two, four and six, children wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.
So now think about the process of simply entering in (and expediting and correcting…) data into an MRP system versus writing it by hand on a whiteboard – or moving status indicators or drawing a value stream map? Which creates a better understanding of the numbers and their relationship and meaning? Which will then stimulate creativity to spark improvements?
As always, I appreciate the simplicity of visual systems as seen from the eyes of our Team Members, although in many cases it requires a complex data driven back-bone. Just ask anyone who has compiled a PFEP for advanced material management.